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Book of Nod origins

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  • #16
    I like the notion that vampires have their own creation stories and myths, but they are parasites and tend to graft it onto human religions. Or possibly their stories make it into the myth cycles of the host peoples. The book of Nod in my view is an Abrahamization of fairly similar stories that go back to Sumer. The fundament of it is pretty old. Few old kindred would be impressed if it was not older than themselves.

    But its dominance is new. If you went back to around the birth of Christ, there would have been a lot of competing stories, which would have been clear parallels, but based in other religons. There is always a murder of kin, normally brothers and always a curse. But the characters can be Caine and Abel, Hod and Balder, Set and Osiris, Emesh and Enten, Hbl and Qyn, or Dumuzid and Enkimdu or older, forgotten names.

    But the Abrahamic version of the story gained dominance and eventually replaced the other versions as Christianity became dominant in Rome, and later spread with the Europeans across the world. As parasites follow their hosts.

    A vampire myth/history that puts on the clothes of whatever religion is currently on top.
    Last edited by Trollroot; 10-27-2020, 06:43 PM.

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    • #17
      I did have a Follower of Set character who had to flee from the clan to the Sabbat because he believed that the story of Caine was an adaptation of the story of Set and Osiris or vice versa.

      It was the, "Or vice versa" that got him in trouble with the Fire Court.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        I did have a Follower of Set character who had to flee from the clan to the Sabbat because he believed that the story of Caine was an adaptation of the story of Set and Osiris or vice versa.

        It was the, "Or vice versa" that got him in trouble with the Fire Court.
        I can definitely see that. Hope he had a plane faster than the one Lucita keeps stealing from Beckett to escape into.

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        • #19
          A thought occurred to me, what if the mortal Cappadocian Fathers actually wrote some of the stories for the Book of Nod/Erciyes Fragments? This would be mortals adapting vampires to their religious world view and not vampires influencing mortal relgion directly. Or even if it were a two way street where they were influenced by and influenced the Book of Nod/Erciyes Fragments.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DrHappyAngry View Post
            A thought occurred to me, what if the mortal Cappadocian Fathers actually wrote some of the stories for the Book of Nod/Erciyes Fragments? This would be mortals adapting vampires to their religious world view and not vampires influencing mortal relgion directly. Or even if it were a two way street where they were influenced by and influenced the Book of Nod/Erciyes Fragments.

            That is pretty much the standard take of what the Book of Nod actually is my games. An abridged compilation of kindred multiple origin myths stitched together through some commonalities but skewed quite purposefully toward a christian worldview, among other baked in manipulations.

            edit: when it comes to places where islam is more commonplace, a bunch of literary citations and references or oral folklore connecting or outright conflating Caine and Kahin (pre-islamic priests/soothsayers/poets, often associated with possession by jinnī, by means of whose power miracles could be performed) and lost Irem would crop up with considerable frequency. Ah, Kahin was a gender neutral title, what made some middle eastern, north african & central asian takes on "noddism" quite peculiar to european and american kindred.
            Last edited by Baaldam; 10-28-2020, 12:49 AM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
              Khain
              Is this your creation? It can't find anything about it with a google search.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                Is this your creation? It can't find anything about it with a google search.

                Ah, sorry, sorry, my bad - Kahin is the correct transliteration.

                But no, not an invention at all, the Kahin are very much an element of real life pre-islamic Arabia, cited in the Quran to boot.

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                • #23
                  Here are my thoughts if I ever had to consider this for my own chronicles.

                  I have said before that I think Noddist belief is a result of cultural interpretation of a core myth during the era when Abrahamic monotheism dominated the Classical World. So there were lots of antecedents to the Book of Nod, particularly in Mesopotamia. But almost all of those "sources" have since been lost leaving the Book of Nod the best known. These sources went all the way back to Sumerian cuneiform.

                  So the Book of Nod had to have been written when that Abrahamic paradigm was in play. That means it shouldn't have been written before Christianity since Judaism itself was probably too small and unimportant for vampires to care enough to interpret the myth through them (although of course a Jewish vampire might write something down, it wouldn't be important to other vampires as whole). Though I would believe that one or more (fictional) apocryphal/rejected books of the Bible similar to the Book of Enoch but interested in the vampires of the antedeluvial world written from a Jewish perspective would also have been one of those lost sources of the Book of Nod. So we'd be looking at a time during Late Antiquity when Christianity was becoming dominant throughout the Classical World. Obviously that includes the Christianization of Rome, but it also covers the growth of the Nestorian Church in Persia as well. So it was probably first written down between the 4th and 6th centuries, based on earlier texts and stories but with the author trying to fit it into Christian belief. If I had to pick a more specific date, I would date it around the reign of Constantine the Great and right before it. The early fourth century had a rising Christian population and even before it became officially recognized, it had achieved an important status. An earlier date would also allow it to be more heretical - and be accepted - because Constantine hadn't forced the bishops to agree to specific dogma. So just before or right around the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312.

                  Most likely geographic location where it was written was someplace that would have had access to numerous texts that could be consulted, or experts who could be consulted. That would narrow it down to most likely either Alexandria in Egypt or Babylon in Mesopotamia. I would prefer Alexandria.

                  The author must have been a relatively new vampire who was brought into a world where the Christian dogma was already set. He was likely a Christian in life before the embrace. I don't see any vampire existing prior to this - and believing in some earlier interpretation of the core myth - taking the bother to do this. It had to have been a vampire trying to make sense with the stories he's been told (likely from an earlier pagan perspective) with what he knew to be true from the Bible. The combination of the occult, vampire history, cosmology, etc. points to a clan stereotypically known for these scholarly interests - perhaps a Brujah, Cappadocian, Malkavian, or Salubri. Although it doesn't need to be any of these. Ventrue, Toreador, Lasombra, etc. could also work. If I had to pick it, I would probably select the author to be Cappadocian. The destruction of that clan would help keep the authorship and facts around its creation more mysterious. Not only couldn't you interview the author, the most likely vampires the author knew best, any assistants he had, etc. would all be from the same clan and would also be destroyed. But I also like the idea of a Brujah scholar doing the same and being subsequently wiped out during one of those clan's internecine feuds.

                  This would have been the first Book of Nod. Then after Christianity became official and more dogma was established, I expect there to have been one or more revised Books of Nod that brought it more in line with dogma as it developed. New bits added and old bits removed, as other experts fiddled with it before it finally settled into an "approved" version. Not sure who could have approved that, but maybe it was a vampire bishop (who may have somehow been ordained while he was a vampire, or someone who was a bishop and later embraced). This was probably a Lasombra given their link to the Catholic Church. It might also help explain why the Sabbat ended up being obsessed by the Book of Nod if it was something already part of the Lasombra clan heritage. The approved version is what Noddists try to collect. Although true Noddist scholars know about the earlier version and are obsessed with that. (Gehenna cultists are also interested in the versions of the Book of Nod, but also interested in fragments of its source materials as well).

                  The Book of Nod, to some degree, was an improvement on those earlier sources because they were very fragmentary individually, written in a style not very helpful to understand the whole story, and using all sorts of references that didn't mean a whole lot to vampires at the time. So the creation of the Book of Nod was a truly enormous scholarly effort and codified and synthesized a lot of disparate sources. It was a great achievement and really did help explain to the masses of vampires the story of their origin. But it also contaminated things by including concepts not found in the original source material as well as editing things that were contradictory or that the author thought was not important or did not understand.

                  What happened to all those earlier sources? The same way a lot of famous mortal texts became lost. The simple passage of time combined with wars and the fall of civilization. There may have also been fanatical Noddists who destroyed the earlier "false" records, early witch hunters or heretic stampers out wiping them out, and certain vampires hiding the records on purpose to save them for a later date - and they've yet to be found.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post


                    7. The Lasombra love using religion as the opiate (vitae?) of the masses versus
                    So I'm literally doing a writeup for Abyss mysticism and it hurts how wrong this statement is. How could Lasombra stay secular when they draw from... that? A realm outside of creation, filled with evil. If there is such a realm of evil, would there not be a realm of good? And if outside of creation is so horrible, would that not often instill a newfound appreciation of creation? It's not an accident that Ahriman is used so often in describing abilities. Confound this with the fact that, y'know, they're vampires with a founder cursed by god... It'd be insane if the Lasombra weren't some of the most religious vampires out there.


                    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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                    • #25
                      They’re both. Like Scientology. They truly believe but they also use religion as an opiate.

                      Also an Abyss Mystic may believe in some higher (or lower) power, but she’s unlikely to be sincerely Christian.


                      “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post

                        So I'm literally doing a writeup for Abyss mysticism and it hurts how wrong this statement is. How could Lasombra stay secular when they draw from... that? A realm outside of creation, filled with evil. If there is such a realm of evil, would there not be a realm of good? And if outside of creation is so horrible, would that not often instill a newfound appreciation of creation? It's not an accident that Ahriman is used so often in describing abilities. Confound this with the fact that, y'know, they're vampires with a founder cursed by god... It'd be insane if the Lasombra weren't some of the most religious vampires out there.
                        That argument would imply that all vampires should be more, rather than less, religious due to being supernatural creatures. In actuality, they don't appear to be any more or less religious than the time period or people they're Embraced from.

                        Gratiano (4th generation Lasombra no less) is a Lasombra who absolutely does not believe in anything other than power. This despite the fact that he entered the priesthood at an early age.

                        Moncada was a vampire who was explicitly incredibly Christian and believed strongly in his own damnation. The fact that Moncada was notable for his piety and found to be incredibly weird for it is a fact that I have always noted.

                        Indeed, I would argue that the Abyssal Mysticism is something that is bound to eat at your soul since its a nihilistic entropic force at the heart of your soul.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          That argument would imply that all vampires should be more, rather than less, religious due to being supernatural creatures. In actuality, they don't appear to be any more or less religious than the time period or people they're Embraced from.

                          Gratiano (4th generation Lasombra no less) is a Lasombra who absolutely does not believe in anything other than power. This despite the fact that he entered the priesthood at an early age.

                          Moncada was a vampire who was explicitly incredibly Christian and believed strongly in his own damnation. The fact that Moncada was notable for his piety and found to be incredibly weird for it is a fact that I have always noted.

                          Indeed, I would argue that the Abyssal Mysticism is something that is bound to eat at your soul since its a nihilistic entropic force at the heart of your soul.

                          But is the Abyss truly a thing or just the hungry predatory morass of nihilistic impulses that composes the Beast pushing out through the opaque black lens of Obtenebration and the Lasombra confounding a general endemic phenomena with a singular all-encompassing force?

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                          • #28
                            I see the Book of Nod as a pack of lies wrapped in the truth. I'm with Black Fox in that it was developed with the rise of Christianity. Also, similar to Constantine, it was done in an effort to unite the vampires of the time (sort of a proto-Camarilla attempt).

                            Something of interest: quick Google search states scholars don't have an exact date when the library of Alexandria was destroyed. This leaves it open for Storytellers and, though I'm not a fan of vampires being behind everything important, think it was instigated in an effort to destroy all documents that contraindicated the Christian origin narrative.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by PJ123 View Post
                              I see the Book of Nod as a pack of lies wrapped in the truth. I'm with Black Fox in that it was developed with the rise of Christianity. Also, similar to Constantine, it was done in an effort to unite the vampires of the time (sort of a proto-Camarilla attempt).

                              Something of interest: quick Google search states scholars don't have an exact date when the library of Alexandria was destroyed. This leaves it open for Storytellers and, though I'm not a fan of vampires being behind everything important, think it was instigated in an effort to destroy all documents that contraindicated the Christian origin narrative.
                              The Library was originally burned by Julius Caesar so probably not the case.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                              • #30
                                I found this article: https://www.ancient.eu/article/207/w...at-alexandria/

                                It states Julius Caesar is only one possible suspect. That's what makes it great for a story set in ancient times. You can decide when the majority of manuscripts were destroyed, why, and tailor it to your Chronicle.

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